Vena’s was featured in an article on Eater about nonalcoholic bars.
Born out of a love for seltzer, Vena’s Fizz House in Downtown Portland, Maine is made to feel like a old-fashioned soda fountain spot. Bartenders shake up fizzy specialty mixed drinks like “The Pear Drop” (pear purée, pear shrub, lime, rosemary, and bitters) and “The Bangladesh Express” (coconut crème, blood orange, lime, ghost pepper, bitters). Downstairs, there’s a mixology shop, where owners, Johanna and Steve Corman sell homemade bitters and syrups, allowing attendees to make fun for themselves at home, too. The catch? When the bar opened in 2013, all of its drinks were zero proof.
The artcle also shares potential plans for a second Vena’s in Utah,
And while she’s not Mormon herself, she’s also seriously considering opening a second location of Vena’s Fizz House in Utah, because many tourists have come in saying nothing like it exists for the Mormon community there.
Avery Yale Kamila has put together a list of new (mostly) vegan products that are now available in Maine.
Maine chefs and entrepreneurs have been busy making new vegan products to serve the growing plant-based food market. I wrote about new vegan meats being made in Maine last spring and the state’s growing group of vegan ice cream makers in July. Yet those just scratch the surface of the new items on Maine’s vegan food scene.
The Hilltop Superette, formerly Colucci’s, has changed hands. The new owners hail from Augusta where they opened and run the Twins Country Store. Here’s an excerpt from their announcement on Facebook,
We have nearly 10 years experience owning and running a very similar store in Augusta called Twins Country Store. Our motto at Twins which is our goal for Hilltop is to be a friend to the community and to provide our customers with high quality foods and fantastic customer service. We want you to come into Hilltop and leave smiling.
Botto’s Bakery is celebrating their 70th anniversary in 2019. According to their press release,
The company, started by Joe Botto in 1949, has grown in the same location in Portland, Maine under the ownership of the Mathews Family, now reaching its 3rd generation. Providing freshly made bread daily to area food establishments, Botto’s Bakery has been a neighborhood fixture of East Deering for 7 decades.
“It gives me great pride in joining Botto’s Bakery employees, customers, and business partners in celebrating the company’s 70th anniversary,” said Robert Mathews, Owner at Botto’s Bakery. He continues, “We have come a long way since I joined the family business in 1978, and excited about the future of the company as we continue to grow and evolve in the changing food culture.”
Botto’s Bakery will be unveiling new products throughout 2019. For January, the pastry department will be unveiling an expanding selection within the pastry cases, including Italian Rum Cake Squares with fresh cream and Italian Ricotta Cheesecake with Marsala wine and Mission Fig Sauce.
Erik Neilson with the Portland Phoenix has highlighted 5 restaurants due out in 2019 that he’s most looking forward to.
Even discounting Bon Appétit magazine’s “Restaurant City of the Year” honors and the aftermath, 2018 was yet another stellar time for the Portland dining scene. It was also a good year for openings, with Lio, Drifters Wife (in its new space) and Crown Jewel leading the pack in terms of new and worthwhile experiences. And while the list of establishments set to open in 2019 is sparser than recent years, there are still a handful of interesting developments to keep an eye on in the coming months.
Forbes magazine talked with Andrew and Briana Volk for some New Year’s Eve entertaining advice.
1. Pre-batch your cocktails
“Not every drink needs to be made one at a time,” says Volk, “just multiply the numbers and make a big batch. People will get excited pouring their own Old Fashioned directly from a pitcher. Overall, stick to about three cocktails — too much choice can be its own problem, and it also encourages people to overserve themselves. Better to have two great things than five ok things, and save the 12-ingredient cocktails for another time.” See Briana’s recipes for batching a Slow Gin Fizz and Mexican Trike below.
The Press Herald has published their alphabetical take on the past year’s food trends and events.
No doubt, the new year will bring plenty of fresh food news. But before we ring in 2019, let’s hit the pause button and review the biggest Maine food news, events and trends of 2018. What restaurants opened this year? Which closed? Which foods captured our hearts, minds and taste buds? Here’s a recap, from A to Z…
The big news from MaineToday Media (the parent company of the newspaper) is their decision to discontinue the Source section of the Sunday Telegram, and to fold the Wednesday Food & Dining section and food coverage from Source into a single weekly Food & Dining section which will be published on Sundays.
The Press Herald has published a round-up of Maine ciders, beers, wines and meads for pairing with your Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow.
Choosing a Maine-made beverage celebrates more than Thanksgiving. It shows just how far Maine has come in 30 years. In the late 1980s, Maine had just one winery that made fruit wine. The state had no other wineries, meaderies, no craft brewery scene, or distilleries of its own. Today there’s a wealth of options. So when you serve a Maine-made beverage with your turkey, you’re celebrating Maine along with the holiday.
At my holiday table I’ll be serving Armenian sparkling wine, pinot noir from Saint Innocent Winery in Oregon, German beer, some excellent Maine cider from Bent Bough, Tandem Coffee and Q Tonic. What beverages are you having with your Thanksgiving meal?
WGME has aired a piece on the Portland’s Arts and Technology High School culinary class which gives students some of the skills they need on their way to their first kitchen job or to enter culinary school.
“I want them to be able to come in and know how to handle a knife, how to set up a work station, how to show up on time and dress appropriately. All those skills that you didn’t see in a cookbook,” Hannibal said.
That also includes business math, sanitation, marketing, nutrition and one of the most popular parts of the curriculum, how to make some delicious desserts.
Today’s Press Herald reports on the expanded use of canning in favor of bottles, including for beverages like kombucha and cocktails.
“Cans are undoubtedly a more sustainable packaging vehicle,” Emmerich said. “They cost less to make. They cost less to ship. They’re more easily recyclable.” Canning is also faster than bottling. Madden said Lone Pine initially hand-bottled its product at a rate of 10 cases per hour. A canning line can produce 40 cans per minute, he said. “All the beer styles we do right now lend themselves to cans,” Madden said. “They’re made to be consumed soon. Fresher is better, and cans promote that idea.”
Maine’s first craft brewery to go all in with cans was Baxter Brewing back in 2010.